By Larry Bowen
I came across an article my mother sent me twenty-five years ago from Modern Maturity Magazine and I thought, since it's graduation time for many students, I'd share it on my blog. Although it's written for graduates, I've read and re-read this for the last two and a half decades and I still get something from it every time I read it. In fact the older I get, the more I appreciate the advice. More than once I've asked myself, "Why didn't I remember that?"
From the June-July 1985 edition of Modern Maturity Magazine
Welcome to the Real World, A Grandparent's Advice to New Graduates
by Wes Smith
The strains of Pomp and Circumstance have faded. The cap and gown company has reclaimed your robe, and every grandparent on both sides has told you the future lies in computers.
School's out. Welcome to the Real World, you poor lost soul.
Granted, you'll never have to dissect another pond frog, and you'll be glad to know that the French Revolution hardly ever comes up in Real World conversations. But you've seen your last three-month vacation, old chum-unless you become a schoolteacher or get elected to Congress. From here on out it's dog eat dog, pay your own way, all for one and every man for himself. You'll now be expected to leave a tip and pay for your half of the golf cart.
To assist you in your first few tentative months in the Real World, we've assembled some helpful hints gleaned from years of stumbling about the cold, cruel, Real World, wishing we were back in homeroom or in the dorm throwing down pizza. Read these tips carefully. They'll do you a lot more good than all those French adverbs.
- Young women should be aware that just because a man looks like your grandfather doesn't mean he thinks of you as his granddaughter. Conversely, young men, not every woman who looks old enough is old enough. And those who are old enough frequently are married.
- In-office romance should be as carefully avoided as used sports cars and downtown after dark.
- The chief beneficiary of life-insurance policies for young, single people is the life-insurance agent.
- Going out for a drink with the boys or girls after work every night is a bad idea. Notice that the boss doesn't go. That's why he or she's the boss and they're still the boys or girls.
- Find a friend with a ski boat and and extra life-jacket. Ingratiate yourself.
- Trust no one. If your mother tells you that she loves you, check it out.
- Single bars get more from you than you get from them. Go ahead and go, but always keep that in mind.
- Never answer an advertisement for a "liberal" roommate. Odds are, you aren't that liberal.
- No one ever sells a used car because it runs too well.
- It is no disgrace to use coupons in public.
- Your parent's good name is their good name. The same applies to their credit.
- Good credit is the key to life. Borrow some money from a bank real quick and pay it back even quicker. Life will be a breeze thereafter.
- Never order a Harvey Wallbanger during a business lunch.
- Unlike your neighbors in the dorm, not all of your Real World neighbors will appreciate AC/DC at full volume on Saturday mornings.
- Dirty laundry never goes away.
- Clothing manufacturers aren't kidding when they say, "Wash whites separately".
- Hardly anyone cares that you chugged 13 beers without throwing up last night.
- Buy good stuff. It lasts longer.
- Dogs and apartments go together like gin and marshmallows. Buy some Guppies.
- A few years after graduation, everyone becomes a high-school letterman.
- Avoid a young woman whose father calls her "Princess." Chances are, she has come to believe it.
- Never shop for groceries on an empty stomach.
- Never eat green toast.
- Barbecue grills make everyone a good cook.
- Sandpaper will take the charred remains of your Oxford shirt off the face of the iron. Salt on a towel works too.
- At some point in your life, your family will be all you have. Treat them right.
- Being "fixed up" is almost as much fun as being X-rayed.
- Love is grand. Marriage lasts longer.
- Everyone is lonely at some point in their life. At least you'll have comfort in that.
- The only thing worse than asking people how much money they make is telling how much you make.
- If you hate going to your job every day, it shows. And it's not worth the ulcers. So, do something you like to do.
- If you get an offer for a better job, take it. Otherwise, shut up about it.
- There's no such thing as a "friendly" divorce.
- Never play softball with guys who "almost signed with the Cubs once."
- You are about to be bombarded by wedding invitations. You are expected to bring a gift. IF you fail to bring one, don't expect a crowd when your turn comes.
- Never introduce your girlfriend to a wealthy widower.
- Find a friend with a pool. Ingratiate yourself.
- Get a credit card. Sales clerks are suspicious of cash.
- After several years on the job, you become a commodity. Know it and sell it.
- Find a friend who is a plumber. Ingratiate yourself.
- A $25 haircut hardly ever lasts as long as a $10 haircut.
- Find a smart boss. You are judged by where you apprenticed. And smart bosses take smart employees up the ladder with them.
- People your own age will soon be having babies and buying lawn mowers. Learn to take interest in both.
- Anything-of-the-month clubs are the mail-order equivalent of chronic lower-back pain.
- Never casually mention an interest in buying a home to a friend who works in real estate.
- Never sit down in a car dealership unless you are sure you are want to buy.
- You cannot remain healthy and clear-minded on a diet of pizza and cardboard burgers. Eat right.
- Never run a tab in a bar that serves salted hors d'oeuvres.
- No worthwhile conversation every began at a bar with ferns.